22 November 2010
Birmingham will welcome the world’s top athletes next summer after the City Council signed a three-year deal with UKA, the governing body for athletics in Britain, to bring the prestigious Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix to the Alexander Stadium.
With the arrival of the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix - part of the Samsung Diamond League - the city will become one of 14 hosting the top 80 athletes in the world as part of a truly global league. It joins the ranks of New York, Rome, Shanghai and Monaco attracting worldwide television audiences, with 50 million viewers tuning in for the two UK meetings in 2010. The city have also extended their contracts to host the Aviva UK Trials and Championships and this too will be held at Alexander Stadium in 2011.
Leader of Birmingham City Council Mike Whitby has hailed the deal as 'another major coup for Birmingham, underlining our status as Britain’s Sporting City'.
And UKA Chief Executive Niels de Vos says Birmingham sports fans can look forward to elite competition featuring a host of major stars: "We are delighted to be bringing the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix to the City as part of the Samsung Diamond League. The people of Birmingham will get to see the world’s greatest athletes on their doorstep in the run up to the Olympics."
Launched this summer, the Samsung Diamond League is made up of 14 meetings spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, showcasing 32 athletics disciplines featuring the cream of world talent.
Cllr Whitby said: "This is another major sporting coup for the city of Birmingham underlining our status as Britain’s Sporting City.
"Remember we’re preparing to host training camps for the USA and Jamaica ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and this deal means we now get to see dozens of the world’s top athletes in action at our very own Birmingham Alexander Stadium."
Niels de Vos added: "Birmingham now plays host to three events in the Aviva Series; the Aviva Grand Prix at the NIA in February, the Aviva UK Trials and Championships and now the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, both in July. This cements the city’s status as one that is committed to bringing world class sport to its citizens. We now look forward to welcoming the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands to the newly refurbished Birmingham Alexander Stadium to see the world’s best Olympians in action."
Commonwealth Champion and Birchfield Harrier Louise Hazel is delighted at the prospect of competing against the world’s best in her own city: "I'm really looking forward to the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix arriving in my home city. This is an amazing opportunity for Birchfield Harriers and the Birmingham Alexander Stadium to gain some much needed recognition. With the track having been newly re-laid I'm sure that there will be some fast times and distances recorded, it's going to be one exciting weekend. On a personal note, I can't wait to show Team Hazel supporters and sponsors in the local area just what athletics is all about."
1500m athlete and Birmingham resident Hannah England said: "The Aviva Grand Prix events have always been spectacular, as a spectator and an athlete, so it's really exciting that they've chosen to come to Birmingham. Birmingham as a city always seems very receptive to sport and I'm sure the locals will embrace the event, as they have done the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix, and help create a brilliant atmosphere. Together with the American and Jamaican track and field teams choosing Birmingham as their base for London 2012 this is becoming an amazing city to live in as an athlete."
Plans for a £12.25 million redevelopment of the Birmingham Alexander Stadium were given the green-light in September, with work already underway on a new 5,000-seater stand.
Work is scheduled to finish in May and Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Cllr Martin Mullaney is relishing the prospect of welcoming top global stars to the new-look stadium.
He said: "We’re developing the stadium because we want to attract high profile events to the city and they don’t come much higher profile than the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and the Samsung Diamond League."
Birmingham will now play host to three international athletics events:
Aviva Grand Prix at the NIA on Saturday 19th February 2011
The World’s number one indoor athletics event returns, this time as the first of three major events to head to the West Midlands in 2011. With top athletes jetting in from all over the globe and exciting entertainment promised both on and off the track, it’s set to be an afternoon of show-stopping action. Last year Jenny Meadows broke Dame Kelly Holmes’s 800m national record, which had stood for seven years. And the stellar line-up included 20 athletes who went on to pick up individual medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, including the fastest hurdler of all time, Dayron Robles. Are you ready to be entertained?
Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix at Birmingham Alexander Stadium on Sunday 10th July 2011
For the first time ever the Aviva British Grand Prix is coming to Birmingham and, as part of the Samsung Diamond League, it promises to be a thriller. At the 9th stop of the premier global athletics series, the competition will be bubbling over as athletics biggest stars take over Birmingham. Jamaican and American athletes will be keen to acquaint themselves with a city that will be their home the following year, and sports fans will hope that it will include a re-match of Asafa Powell versus Tyson Gay, which set the Aviva British Grand Prix alight in 2010 and was one of the races of the season. Make sure you’re at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium to witness this incredible event.
Aviva UK Trials and Championships at Birmingham Alexander Stadium on Friday 29th – Sunday 31st July 2011
Having taken on the world’s best athletes at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix a few weeks earlier, Aviva GB and NI team hopefuls will return to the Alexander Stadium aiming to be crowned National Champions and in turn book their spot on the plane to Daegu for the IAAF World Championships.
2010's event proved to be one of the top family events anywhere in the Midlands. Blessed by glorious sunshine, parents and children were entertained by interactive activities, games, music and much more outside the stadium, only to be further treated to a feast of entertainment inside. Phillips Idowu and Dai Greene both triumphed here, and then turned National titles into European gold, while Andy Turner avenged his defeat to William Sharman in the 110m hurdles to be crowned European Champion in Barcelona. Of the 21 Aviva GB and NI medallists, 19 of them competed at the inaugural Aviva UK Championships. Gather your friends and family and make sure you don’t miss a weekend to remember this summer.
Tickets to the Aviva Series are now on sale and can be purchased by freephone 08000 55 60 56, or online at www.uka.org.uk